Chelsea boots originated in England in the mid-19th century. Then, they were called "Paddock boots," a short style for equestrian functions. They've only strayed from home — and horse riding — just recently. The elasticized wonders were a staple in mid-’60s London scenes and protected the feet of seemingly every British invader — from John Lennon to Ringo Starr. Recently, they’ve seen a revival on many of menswear’s best-dressed.
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What Are Chelsea Boots?
Marked by a slim silhouette, elastic side panels, and heel pull-tabs, the boot has seen reinterpretations in leather, suede, and neoprene, either with crepe, leather or rubber soles. They're a versatile option that's gone largely unchanged since inception, save for material swaps here and there. And while they aren't as in-demand as they were in the mid-2010s — when everyone from Kanye West and David Beckham to Harry Styles and Justin Theroux was wearing theirs — Chelsea boots prove sensible now more than ever. The style emphasizes both aesthetics and comfortability, meeting in a middle ground where both camps — those wearing them for their look and those wearing them for their convenience — are appeased.
How to Wear Chelsea Boots
Further, designers from all over have riffed on the shape over and over and over again, resulting in a rich landscape of iterations to choose from. Whether you're looking for a pair that's polished or preppy (to wear with an Oxford and chinos), with a bit of street cred (to wear with jeans and a hoodie) or suit-friendly (to wear with a, well, suit), here are more than a dozen different Chelsea boots to choose from.